Former United defender Alex Forsyth gives his view on the team’s start to the season and discusses the current lack of top quality Scottish players in the game.
United currently sit top of the Premier League but haven’t been the most convincing in the seven league games they’ve played this season: “I’ve watched a few of the games and I think it could take a little while for the players they’ve brought in to gel properly.
“Some of the young lads look very exciting and they’ve got off to not too bad a start but I think Manchester City will be the team to beat this year. All the rest have stuttered like Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. United have started fairly well but they’re not scoring as many goals as I’d like to see and they’re not playing so well as individuals so I think they can only play better.”
Alex is pleased that United managed to tie David De Gea down to a new contract despite him almost leaving the club near the end of the transfer window and has been very impressed with new signings Anthony Martial and Matteo Darmian: “I’m glad they got the goalkeeper sorted out because he’s a big influence on the defence and one of the best in the world. It’s very reassuring when you’re a defender to know that you’ve got a good goalkeeper behind you.
“The young lad up front, Martial might take a little while to settle down but he looks very promising. Matteo Darmian looks pretty good and I’m sure Van Gaal had his scouts watching him but it takes a while for players to settle in to playing in the English Premier League. There’s not many who go in there and do well straight away.
“All the teams are good sides and every week is a hard game, years ago you used to get a few easy games but nowadays even your bottom teams are decent sides who can be hard to beat.”
Since Darren Fletcher’s departure from the club in January, United have been without a Scottish first team player for the first time in several years, an interesting fact when you consider that Scottish players such as Denis Law, Lou Macari and Brian McClair have played such a big part in the club’s history.
For example, the team that was beaten by Southampton in the 1976 FA Cup final contained four Scots including Alex, who thinks that the lack of quality Scottish players at United and indeed all the top clubs is down to his country not producing the players anymore: “The thing is now, which Scottish players are good enough to play at United? Darren Fletcher was a fantastic player but if you look at the Scotland squad it’s hard to think of anybody who would get in the United team.
“We’ve no top drawer players of Denis Law and Joe Jordan’s kind of calibre, we’ve got a good goalkeeper. I would say that Craig Gordon is a top goalkeeper but we’ve got a lot of average players in the Scotland team and you can see that in the way we play, we’re up and down and it’s going to be a long time before we’re a force in Europe again because we just aren’t producing the players anymore.”
Asked whether United have a chance of winning the title this season Alex says: “I honestly think it’s between City and United, I can’t see any of the London teams coming between them and I can’t see Liverpool doing much. With Brendan Rodgers, I think if he’s not within striking distance after Christmas and New Year then he could well be on his way out. I can see the two Manchester clubs dominating the league this year.”